Animmersion UK has delivered a highly accessible and user-friendly immersive classroom for Darlington College in collaboration with Art AV that pushes the boundaries of learning across every subject.
The Teesside-based collaboration provided the classroom with in house software that allows teachers with limited technical knowledge to create and display content that enables students to experience real-life and simulated situations that create a rich and highly engaging learning experience.
It offers unlimited opportunities to extend the horizons of students by 360 degrees – whether that’s transporting them to a tropical beach as the waves lap between their feet, feeling the thrill of a virtual sky dive, or exploring the wonders of a world heritage site, or a galaxy far, far, away.
So called CAVE systems that create a virtual reality environment within a room in which the walls, floor, and sometimes ceiling, become projection screens were historically expensive to create and required a high level of technical expertise to operate.
However, the system developed by Animmersion UK, in partnership with ArtAV, makes the cutting edge technology much more accessible – ensuring it can be used by anyone capable of delivering a basic PowerPoint presentation.
It also enables lecturers to go out and capture their own content using a 360 degree camera – which not only reduces the cost and the carbon emissions created by multiple field trips but allows students to experience locations with limited or difficult physical access.
Lliam Morrice, the College’s programme leader of computer games development, said: “The possibilities are endless, and the immersive classroom expands the learning opportunities of students right across the curriculum.
“Students learning English have been among the first to use it. One creative writing group were transported inside a haunted house to heighten their senses and creativity.
“It allows computer games students to experience and test the work they have produced, while engineering students can view machinery or a process inside a factory that would normally be off limits to visitors on safety or access grounds.
“Many students haven’t had much experience of the outdoors, and this brings the world to their feet. It is not only inspirational but pushes the boundaries of teaching and learning.”
Samuel Harrison, CEO of Animmersion UK, said: “This is a technology that just a few years ago was beyond the reach of most education providers, beyond well-funded research institutes and top universities.
“By developing the software, we have made immersive learning more accessible and user friendly – ending the situation whereby advanced digital technology was underused because educators found it was overcomplicated or could not grasp its full potential.”
Principal Kate Roe said: “The investment in this immersive classroom reflects Darlington College’s commitment to bringing the very best learning experiences to our students that are all linked to lesson outcomes.
“Introducing tools, such as 360 cameras and virtual reality content production models, adds longevity to this fantastic resource and allows us to be ahead of the game as VR increasingly becomes a part of education and training.”
The initiative has resulted in Darlington College being nominated for a top honour in the Edufuturists Awards 2023, run by the EduTech Project, a national organisation that promotes the use of technology in education.
The education sector is a growing market for Animmersion UK and Art AV. They have recently commenced delivery of several further immersive classrooms for Sunderland College and they recently delivered a ground-breaking interactive four-metre-wide Powerwall for Newcastle College.
The first of its kind in the education sector, the versatile 240hz LED screen enables students and staff to collaborate by developing new ways of working. Loaded with software, examples and templates for multiple disciplines and experience levels, the ultra-high-definition 3D Powerwall is used by students from a variety of departments including engineering, digital, healthcare and the arts.